On 21st January just past, we welcomed the Bishop of Hertford to St. Mary's for our Confirmation Service. This was a wonderful celebration, something all our churches are rather good at whether we are hosting the 'big' occasions in people's lives or significant moments in the church year. A Confirmation Service is a public opportunity for a person to make their own faith response to God. For some, these promises were made for them by parents and godparents at their baptism as a child, but for many more these days a baptism has not taken place, so the Confirmation Service includes the opportunity to be baptised as well. It was a great joy to celebrate with our nine candidates, four of them being under the age of sixteen.
What about you and me, what response have we made to God? You may not believe in God and I respect your right to choose, but I wonder if an interesting discussion on week one of our newly started Alpha Course will help us all to reflect. We began with that question: do we need God? All the adults confirmed could give the reasons why they need God, and Jesus even said in Matthew Chapter 9: 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick', so knowing you need help seems vital to finding help, but some in our new Alpha group suggested their lives were fine so why do they need God? A very good question. In the Alpha talk we heard earlier in the evening, Nicky Gumbel remembered watching the World Cup Final in 1966 when England beat West Germany on an old black and white television. He described a crucial moment in the final when the television went into lines and the picture was too hard to make out. He said it often helped to improve the picture if someone stood on a certain part of the floor nearby, or by putting your hand round the TV in a certain way, but what they needed, he said, was an aerial like we have today. They had no idea how much better the picture could be. Could that be true for many of us, even though life seems fine in so many ways, could it be that we have not yet seen how good life can be? How inviting Jesus deep into our hearts can change us and our lives in good ways that we could never have imagined. This is the story that most Christians can tell you. We wish you all a very good 2018, and if you wonder what knowing Jesus could do for you, why not come and find out?
Alan Comfort, Rector